SYDNEY/WELLINGTON, June 18 (Reuters) - The Australian and New Zealand dollars stumbled on Tuesday After investors were spooked by speculation the Federal Reserve was about to herald a tapering in its asset buying, adding to pressure on commodity currencies and emerging markets.
* Aussie slid over a cent to as low as $0.9510 offshore on an FT story that the Fed was likely to signal it would slow the pace of asset purchases in September.
* Later the author of the report twitted that it was just an opinion piece and he did not have any inside information, but the speed of the move showed just how sensitive markets are to any hint of a pullback in stimulus.
* As nerves calmed a little, the Aussie edged back to $0.9550 but remains very vulnerable to the outcome of the Fed's policy meeting on Wednesday.
* RBA minutes due at 0130 GMT. Many in the market expect the central bank to maintain its easing bias, after cutting interest rates in May. Some suspect that the Aussie may gain in the absence of a deeper commitment to further easing.
* 'The risks are likely tilted toward the market reducing its RBA rate cut expectations,' BNZ analysts said in a note, adding that markets are currently pricing in 40 basis points of cuts in the next year.
* Kiwi falls to $0.7968 in offshore trade, also weighed by softer commodity prices, before clawing back to $0.8003. Antipodeans little changed versus euro , yen and other currencies.
* Aussie, kiwi have been jerked around in volatile trade in the past week or so, and many expect markets to remain choppy until the Fed's monthly policy meeting ends.
* Any indication that the Fed is nearing the end of its massive asset buying programme could spark a rally in the U.S. dollar and pressure the Aussie and kiwi.
* Aussie has pulled back from a one-week high of $0.9665 hit late last week but remains some way from the recent three-year low of $0.9325.
* The Aussie has lost roughly 10 percent since April as the market priced in a start to tapering by the Fed while also wagering on a further rate by the RBA.
* Aussie trades at 73.1 versus a currency basket, near a 20-month low of 71.9 hit last week.
* Technical support seen at $0.9509, the 200-hourly moving average, and $0.9495, the 50 percent retracement of last week's rally, while Asian offers seen above $0.9650 are seen capping any significant upside.
* Kiwi sees technical support at $0.7959, its 200-HMA, around where bids are suspected. Any climb towards $0.8100 is expected to be met with selling, given offers seen above that level.
* Australian government bonds ease, with the three-year contract indicated down 0.030 points at 97.410, while the 10-year contract slips 0.025 points to 96.575.
* New Zealand government bonds slip in early trade, nudging yield 1.5 basis points higher across the curve.
(Australia and New Zealand bureaux) Keywords: MARKETS AUSTRALIA NEWZEALAND/FOREX
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